Hastings building permits inched up in 2011, but what will 2012 hold?In 2010, Hastings experienced one of its most painful years for development. There were only four residential building permits given out that year. The good news is that in 2011, the numbers are up. The city gave out 25 residential permits last year, 20 of which were for new single family homes.
By: Katrina Styx, The Hastings Star-Gazette
In 2010, Hastings experienced one of its most painful years for development. There were only four residential building permits given out that year. The good news is that in 2011, the numbers are up. The city gave out 25 residential permits last year, 20 of which were for new single family homes.
“Growth is occurring,” said Community Development Director John Hinzman. “We’re hopeful that 2010 was the bottoming out of our permit levels.”
While the number of permits for commercial buildings, townhomes and apartment homes can vary, single family home permits often serve as a fairly stable market indicator.
“Single family permits are generally a consistent indication of growth and development,” Hinzman said.
Hastings has been tracking its permits since about 1990. Before the housing market inflation that began in 2000, the city saw a fairly steady number of single family home permits, between 50 and 100 each year. Last year’s numbers are still low, but the improvement over the previous two years is at least encouraging.
“We’re hopeful that the upward trend will continue,” Hinzman said.
“It seems like when we look at what’s happening in other areas in the Twin Cities, they’re growing,” he added.
Still, there’s much uncertainty about the likelihood of permit numbers climbing more in 2012.
“There’s such a glut of homes on the market and there’s such uncertainty among homeowners,” he said. “It’s just an uncertain time.”
In previous recessions, new home construction has been a factor in boosting the economy. This time, however, it might not play as large a role as in the past. For the past couple years, Hinzman said he’s been looking at improvements being done on homes as another indicator of how the market is doing. Because the housing market is so full of available housing, tracking new construction may not be the most accurate economic assessment. Tracking home improvements shows how willing people are to put money into their homes, Hinzman said.
So far, he hasn’t measured Hastings’ home improvement trends.